MOSAIC’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program staff are one step closer to enacting change by helping remove the stigma associated with mental health.
The LINC Program team participated in the Mental Health Commission of Canada- Mental Health First Aid course to help better prepare them for the clients they teach.
Alison Heath, Manager of Brentwood Language Learning Centre and Surrey LINC program within the Language Employment and Social Enterprise (ELSE) department notes, “This training supports our team to be equipped in serving our clients in overcoming mental health challenges, and in the process, de-stigmatizing talking about mental health in the community.”
She adds, “[The] MOSAIC LINC program is committed to supporting newcomers in successfully managing mental health challenges in their settlement journey.”
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five people in Canada suffer from a mental health issue or illness in any given year.
Homeyra Amiryeganeh has a decade’s experience in helping newcomers learn English and says she found the mental health first-aid training to be interesting, educational and rewarding.
“I believe such approaches to mental health in the long term can change people’s perceptions in the world [about] overall health in both organizations like MOSAIC and communities. But it takes a longer time,” Homeyra said.
As an instructional assistant, she says her work exposes her to newcomers from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. She notes the conversation around mental health can be difficult for her clients but hopes to see change in the way people in the community treat mental health in their daily thoughts and conversations.
Learning about demonstrating openness and respect between herself and her clients is what Homeyra believes will help serve her clients better., including encouraging them to talk and being ready to listen.
“I learned the differences between mental health crises and emergencies and how to be observant and efficient in these situations.”
Homeyra also learned about the importance of self-care and checking in on her own mental well-being. As a survivor of an armed robbery in 2004, Homeyra says she is thankful for the treatment and support she received from mental health professionals in helping her overcome her own stress and trauma. The support she received eventually encouraged her to complete her degree in mathematics at Simon Fraser University and get involved in volunteering for family support services, women’s support shelters and MOSAIC.
The support helped her find her passion for helping newcomers with their literacy skills.
“I never forget about their efforts; therefore, I will continue to fully support any programs to help mental health.”
Bell Let’s Talk Day
As one of 30 partners nationwide, MOSAIC aims to join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, this year on January 25, by promoting CHANGE. For more information visit bell.ca/letstalk:
- Choose a mental health organization to learn about or support
- Help a friend struggling with their mental health by learning how to support them
- Ask about how your school, workplace, or community is creating change for mental health
- Nurture your own well-being by practicing and learning mental health strategies
- Get involved in a mental health initiative or organize an event to support mental health
- Engage in conversations about mental health to fight stigma